When A Family Sues Itself and Goes To Court

I just read a stunning (and not in a good way) news story about an aunt who sued her then 8-year-old nephew. The story reported the aunt was injured when, at his eighth birthday party, the nephew ran into her arms and jumped up for a hug, knocking her over and breaking her wrist. Happy Birthday indeed.


While this sounds like the most awful aunt ever, and in fact she was vilified as just that, the fact is the lawsuit was more about an insurance issue than about a feuding family. She wanted her nephew’s parents’ homeowners insurance to pay her medical bills after her insurance company offered only $1 compensation. In the state of Connecticut where she lives the law states she had to sue an individual. Since she and her nephew fell together, his had to be the name on the suit. But oh the agony in the backlash once this story broke. For a time, to literally add insult to injury, this woman became perhaps the most hated woman in America. Clearly, not deservedly so and her family is still loving and intact.

But what if you really are part of a feuding family lawsuit? Will it destroy your family? Let me answer from my experience. It’s truly one of life’s most painful experiences to face a family member in court. The litany of reasons stretch from being betrayed by people you trusted to realizing your family isn’t loving or close or made up of people you can count on. It shakes you to your core to know you can be betrayed for money. And it likely results in the permanent loss of honesty or trust that is essential to close family bonds.

I have been in court twice with family members. I didn’t want to be there either time. I wasn’t the one seeking the money. I’d rather have been anywhere else than in front of a judge pouring out my heart and soul about my fractured family. If you are enmeshed in a battle with a family member, I strongly urge you to reconsider. The money you might win in court will never compensate you for the loss of family.

It’s not worth it. Even if you win, you lose.

11 Responses to “When A Family Sues Itself and Goes To Court

  • What a tragic story – and sorry it happened to you too. The story of the aunt/nephew sounds like fodder for TV reality shows.

    You are right – any compensation received in court would never rebuild the loss of trust or heal wounds in a fractured family.

  • Deb, it’s really sad that the all mighty dollar ruins a lot of family ties. I could write a book on my own encounters with family regarding wills and those of US left out, but I will never not talk to family over money, and choose not to include these stories in my books because of wounds that have never healed. I know you didn’t hold back in your book because ties were already severed. I’m trying to be the glue in what’s left of our tiny family. 🙂

    • Oh Debby I wish you so much luck with that. I’d trade places if I could but, as you said, those folks had chosen their paths and for them there was no turning back so I had nothing (literally) to lose and wanted to tell the story so maybe others could be helped.

  • So sad that we even have to think of compensation.. But then I know the laws regarding Medical expenses and insurance are different in the USA… We have lots to be thankful for in the UK..

    Many thanks for sharing the story Deborah..

    Blessings for a wonderful week ahead

  • Oh, what a sad story. I do understand why the Aunt sued, but it must have been awful to have sued her 8 year old nephew!

  • What a terrible situation for that woman. I think I would have dropped the whole thing. Thanks for sharing, so honestly, your experiences. Great post!

  • Thanks for that Deb. And btw, Deb could you please tell me if I’m subscribed to your blog? I’m seeing this on the wp reader, and when I leave comments, I don’t get notified if your respond. I’d rather subscribe by email so I don’t have to find you on the reader. I use 2 different emails so I never can keep track of who I’m following from each one. If you can check your subscription list and let me know that would be great. My email would be either d.g.kaye or debbygies if that helps. 🙂

    • Hi Debby, Nope you are not an email follower so just go to the blog page and sign up to do that. Hope you are having a great start to the week. (If weeks start on Sunday, that is.)

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